Bone Painting Coroner Chapter 458: Mu Jin's Verses
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Ji Yunshu was at the end of her rope, “Wei Yi, do you still want to go to the Lantern Festival or not?”
Wei Yi bounced up immediately, “Of course I want to!”
“Then stop wasting time with your chatting, let’s go.”
Mo Ruo yawned and purposefully stretched in a way that blocked their path, preventing them from moving forward. He chuckled evilly, “How could you leave me out of such a fun activity? I couldn’t bear to miss an event with fine wine and beauties; how about bringing me along?”
Ji Yunshu was blunt. “No way. If you end up drunk on the streets, we have no way of carrying you back.”
“When have I ever really been drunk? Come now, I promise not to get into trouble or get drunk. Let’s go together!” He was bold and shameless!
“Are you sure?” Mo Ruo had an evil glint in his eye as he gave a villainous laugh, “Teacher Ji, you must know that Jing Rong is still cleaning up after the mess that idiot Liu Zhiliang created. If he were to find out that the two of you snuck out behind his back, who knows what would happen…” Hehe!
Oh, you rascal, how dare you threaten us? Wei Yi puffed out his chest in front of Mo Ruo. “If you dare tell Brother Jing Rong, I’ll… I’ll bury you alive, then cover you with hay and grass. Do you still dare to try me?”
Mo Ruo merely scoffed, “Little Wei Yi, oh Little Wei Yi, you wouldn’t dare even if I fed you liquid bravado.”
“I…” It was true, Wei Yi did not have the guts, and he shrunk backwards and away from the menacing Mo Ruo.
Ji Yunshu’s head throbbed from their bickering. She snuck a glance at the courtyard over her shoulder before quickly shutting the back door, lest Lang Po came after them. She shot Mo Ruo a hapless, disgusted glance. “If you wish, then let’s go together.”
“Alright!” Mo Ruo threw back his head in laughter as he exclaimed, swaying on his feet as he followed closely behind the pair.
Although the main street was roughly triple the size of a regular path, it was currently packed to the brim with smartly dressed men and women. Of course, there were also those that were dressed more skimpily than others. The Lantern Festival certainly lived up to its name; the various lanterns that lined the streets lit up the entirety of Anfu County like a beacon. The happy and boisterous atmosphere in the crowd did not seem at all affected by the recent downfall of Liu Zhiliang!
Wei Yi held his pumpkin lantern and led the pack. He stood tall and proud, purposely lifting his lantern high above his head, as if afraid that nobody would see it. His proud display drew the attention of those around him, each one envious of his unique lantern. Some children even came running up to him, surrounding him curiously as they examined his lantern, “It’s so pretty, so pretty…” It was truly a jolly mess!
Throughout their stroll, Wei Yi was up to his usual antics; he asked for this, then that, and his body was soon covered all over in trinkets of all sizes. If he were to continue in this manner, even an entire sedan would not be sufficient for him to transport all his possessions to Jinjiang! Mo Ruo, although still drinking his wine, was careful to protect the two of them. He never let them out of his sight, and constantly maintained a small distance from them. From time to time, he would tease Ji Yunshu, “You’d better find Wei Yi a virtuous, thrifty wife soon. Look at him and the way he’s spending his money - he’ll empty out his pockets in no time at all! My heart is bleeding for him; think of the number of wine jars I could buy with that amount!”
Ji Yunshu rebutted sarcastically, “If he doesn’t spend his silvers, should he eat them then?”
Mo Ruo kept his mouth shut.
Suddenly, the crowd began to rush in the same direction. Ji Yunshu could barely make out one of them yelling in passing, “Miss Mu Jin’s writing verses. Quick, let’s go take a look!”
Mu Jin? What was so exciting about verse writing? Ji Yunshu was a curious cat, and she let herself be carried along by the crowd.
Their destination was a duel stage set up in an alleyway beside a bridge. The area, containing several tables designed for weary festival-goers to rest, was already packed. At the same time, there was also wine supplied for said festival attendees. This was Mo Ruo’s paradise! He did not hesitate for a second, beelining for an empty spot.
Ji Yunshu held Wei Yi’s hand as they sat down next to Mo Ruo, merely watching the latter drink. Peeking over the crowd, Ji Yunshu noticed a young lady adorned in mauve standing by the river. With eyes bright and clear as the river and a faint natural blush on her cheeks, it was as if she were a fairy descended to earth. Her aura was a little aloof but wise, and had the air of an elegant, refined young lady.
This young lady was Mu Jin; she boasted not only a gorgeous appearance but was equally unmatched in Anfu for her talent. She could read at age three, recite the Classics by five, and outwitted her own teacher at age ten. In the many years since, nobody else was able to match her abilities; if she had been a man, she would have already secured herself an esteemed position in the Capital. This young lady was not only clever, but also virtuous; she had long passed the suitable age of marriage, but no-one had caught her eye yet.
She swept a glance across the four men standing before her with her glittering eyes, before softly reciting with her cherry-red lips, “Spring returns; the lands prosper and bloom.”
One of the four contestants answered confidently, “Harvests reaped; guests drink and be merry.”
She followed, “Night falls; slumber brings dreams of hometowns.”
“Solitude whispers; hometowns are far from sight.”
“Glasses raised; toasts dedicated to their memories.”
None of the four could find an appropriate verse to match hers; it was Miss Mu Jin’s complete victory, in this one-to-four match! She wore a victorious smile together with her natural-born confidence.
Ji Yunshu was contemplating as well, but unlike her bone setting skills, her poetry had never been top-notch. Just as Mu Jin was showered with compliments, a verse rang across the air from amongst the crowd. “Longing and praying; where has he gone.”
Necks snapped as the crowd turned to see a man, dressed in the finest lavender brocade, step out from the masses and stride towards the duelling stage. His posture and garments were a perfect match, accentuating his muscular figure. His hair was worn in a high top-bun with the ribbon securing it in place as the rest flowed behind him and down his back. His chin was tilted slightly upwards, and his gaze was mysterious but coldly enticing. This man was none other than Jing Rong.
Ji Yunshu’s jaw dropped to the floor. What was he doing here?
Mu Jin’s confident, haughty smile was brought down a notch. She praised, “This young master’s verse is incredibly well-written.” She spared no compliments!
Jing Rong asked politely, “Does the young miss have a verse in answer?”
Mu Jin briefly pondered, before replying, “Oceans apart; my love is miles away.”
“Good, good.” Jing Rong laughed, his gaze piercing through the crowd until he met Ji Yunshu’s gaze.
Ji Yunshu shuddered. It was as if she were a thief caught red-handed. Crap! I’m screwed! The next thing she heard from Jing Rong was, “He promised; we will have eternity together.” He spoke as if he were speaking to her directly.
Mu Jin could not help but smile, “This one admits defeat; the young master has won. I’m unable to match this verse.”
Jing Rong finally averted his gaze from Ji Yunshu, turning to Mu Jin politely, “The young miss is well-learned. The verses you had written earlier have earned this one’s respect.”
“How should I address the young master?”
“My family name’s Jing.”
“Young Master Jing, this one’s named Mu Jin.”
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